First year MBBS internal exams were staring in June. I was beginning to get worried. I haven’t studied anything. I had to learn Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry and to make matters worst, I realized I don’t even have proper lecture notes. I was reading Sidney Sheldon novels in my room, when my batchmates were busy attending lectures and taking notes. I was so stupid! There was no other way to describe my stupidity.
I was in my room trying to memorise all the muscles in the upper arm when Aparna ran in to the room
“Oh God, what am I going to do?” “Oh God where did I keep all the Notes?” Aparna was acting like a mad woman
“What is going on?” I asked her
“Didn’t you hear? we have PSM internal exam(preventive and Social medicine) on monday?”
“PSM internal exam? But we only have to write that paper in Final year right?”
“Yeah, but Dr. Tripadi wants us to write the internal exam. He says, he is going to use the mark we get this year for our final year”
Dr. Tripadi is a weird man. He knows nobody likes PSM and he isn’t as important as the surgeons and medicine professors. So he acts big by harassing all the first year students. I never attended any of his lectures and I haven’t bought a text book yet.
“Are you going to study PSM?” I asked Aparna
“Ofcourse I don’t want to fail PSm internal exam. Oh God, now I will have less time to revise anatomy and Physio”
“You finished studying Biochemistry already?
Aparna nodded her head. I felt a tinge of jealousy, because I haven’t touched Biochemistry yet. Why oh Why am I so stupid?
What am I going to do? Do I concentrate on the three papers I have to write and pass this year or Do I worry about a paper that I will be writing 3 years from now? I chose the former.
I watched all my batchmates reading PSM on sunday, while I was busy reading Biochemistry. On monday morning, I walked to the exam hall confidentally to write an exam on a subject that I have never read. Everyone was busy doing last minute revision.
Dr. Tripadi walked in to the hall with the question paper. I waited anxiously for him to distribute the question paper. I was planning to pass an empty answer sheet and walk off the exam hall quickly, so I can go back and revise Anatomy.
“Nobody leaves the exam hall till the last bell rings” Announced Dr. Tripadi.
I thought of strangling Dr. Tripadi. Not enough that he is making us write PSM exam, when we should be worrying about Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, he also decided that we should waste two precious hours in the exam hall.
He started to walk around the classroom. I couldn’t just sit there and stare at the question paper infront of me, especiallywhen Dr. Tripadi is walking around the room and checking to see who are the ‘good students’. I had to prtend that I knew all the answers and write the test. I looked at the question paper.
First question was ‘What is Iceberg Phenomenon?”
I had no idea what is Iceberg Phenomenon!. The only Iceberg I knew was the one Titanic went and banged. I had 2 hours to waste and so I decided to write about how the mighty unsinkable Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912 after hitting an iceberg! I wrote on the 4 pages of my answer booklet and still only managed to write half the story. I had to take three additional sheets. Each time I asked for additional sheet sheet Aparna turned to look at me. I smiled at her. I watched Aparna writing more enthusiastically. She desperately wanted to score more marks than me. If only she knew!
Because I didn’t have time to write notes, whatever I needed to remember, I wrote in my text book. In that way, I dont have to go throught too many books just before the exam. I just have to read my text book. Because I hated Anatomy and needed more help with that subject, My Chaurasia text book was filled with my notes.
Externals were starting on monday.
On sunday I revised Biochemistry in the morning, because I knew I will have the whole night to revise Anatomy. Around 7 PM, I went to the mess to have dinner. I thought of taking my Anatomy text book with me to the mess, but then I thought, It is only for 10 minutes! I will eat quickly and come back. I kept the text book on my bed and went to eat. Aparna and Shylaja were sitting in the corridoor and studying
“Are you coming to the mess?” I asked them
“Nah, we will eat later”
I walked to the mess alone, all the while revising the Krebs cycle( biochemistry) in my head. I ate quickly.
When I came back Aparna and Shylaja was still outside the room.
I walked in to my room to get my text book. I know for sure, I left the book on my bed, but it wasn’t there when I went back. I looked under the bed, in my cupboard, every where. My text book was missing. I ran out of the room and asked Aparana
“Did anyone come in to our room?”
“No” Both of them shook their head.
“Did you see my Chaurasia text book?”
“No” They shook their head.
I felt my world collapsing. I wrote all the mnemonics, all the important questions, everything in that text book. There was no way I could have misplaced my text book. I went back and checked my room again, I went to all batch mates rooms asking if they saw my text book. No one saw my text book.
I went to the seniors rooms. The last room on fourth floor was Soumya’s room. She is a very nice super senior. I knocked at her door and she opened the door.
“Are you ok Nina? What happend?”
“Someone took my Chaurasia tex book. I can’t find it anywhere”
“Did you check in your room?”
I nodded my head. I started to cry. I didn’t want to fail the exam. If I failed a test, then I wouldn’t be able to write any entrance exam to do my master’s degree.
“Come on Nina, it isn’t that bad. Stop wasting your time crying. Get a book from Someone and study”
“I don’t know anyone who has a Chaurasia to spare”
“Oh Nina, I gave my book to Anitha. But I am sure many of my batchmates still have Chaurasia. Go and ask Sumi. She might have a Chaurasia”
I looked at Soumya. I have never spoken to Sumi before. How can I go to her and ask, if I can borrow her text book?
“Will you help me?” I asked Soumya
“ok” I watched Soumya going to Sumi’s room and talking to Sumi. She got the book and gave it to me
“Go and study. Good luck”
“Thank you Soumya”
It wasn’t easy to study from someone else’s book. I missed my text book. But I had no choice but to study. Around 12 midnight I was feeling very sleepy. I wanted to sleep for a little while and get up and revise. I was afraid that I might not hear the alarm. Shylaja was already asleep and Aparna was still studying.
“Aparna, What time are you going to bed?
“Around 2pm. I still have to revise some more”
“can you wake me up in one hour time?”
“Sure” She mumbled
“yeah, I will”
I knew I can count on Aparna. I lay down to sleep. I woke up with a jolt and looked at the clock. It was 2.45 Am. Aparna was still studying.
Oh my goodness, Aparna didn’t bother to wake me up. I was so mad at her
“Aparna, you promised me, you will wake me up. Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Oh Nina, you looked so tired, so I thought I will let you sleep for a little while” She spoke so innocently
BITCH. That is all I could think.
On the last day of the exam, Aparna started to vomit. May be she is just stressed, or she might have got food poisoning. By sunday Aparna couldn’t move. She was vomitting non stop. I had physiology practicals on monday and Aparna had biochemistry practicals. I watched Aparna laying down on her bed and struggling to read her biochemistry lab report. I felt sorry for her.
“Give me the book. I will read for you”
“Don’t you have practicals tomorrow?”
“I do, don’t worry about me.”
I sat next to Aparna, read the whole lab reports for her. In between Shylaja walked in to the room to get her lab report. She never once asked how is Aparna, or if she needed any help.
Monday morning, I helped Aparna to revise biochemistry again and walked with her to the Biochemistry lab. Before I left, I informed the Head of the Department Dr. Sheikh that Aparna is not feeling well.
As I walked to the Physiology lab, I didn’t know how I am going to do Physiology practicals, when my head is full of biochemistry. But I did what I have to do, irrelevant of the outcome.
Aparna had jaundice.